This week we resolved the question of whether I’d been researching “wrong Longs” as the parents of my great-grandfather, James William Long. I said that in an upcoming post we’d show how we did that.
Out here in the hinterlands, the NGS NewsMagazine arrived a couple of days ago. As usual, it’s got a number of excellent articles. One that I found particularly interesting is What is the standard of proof in genealogy? by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL. Dr. Jones goes through a case study showing how the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) applies.
Our problem is not much different from the case presented by Dr. Jones. His study is to find the parents of on Jonathan Tucker. We apply the GPS to the question of whether I’ve been researching the “right” Long family as the parents and siblings of James William Long.
We know that James William Long was married to Mary Elizabeth Liza Jane Johnson. We know that because (1) we have living witnesses who affirm the truthfulness of that and (2) we have a copy of their marriage certificate.
The first test of the GPS is Was the underlying research reasonably exhaustive? To establish the family of origin of James William Long we have:
- Living witnesses who attest to the fact of his marriage and the names of his children (this will become important later).
- His marriage license.
- His death certificate.
- The 1870 Federal census of Kansas City, Missouri
- The 1870 Federal census of Shawnee, Johnson County, Kansas
- The 1900 Federal census of Kansas City, Missouri
- The 1910 Federal census of Kansas City, Missouri
- Census records, marriage licences, and death certificates of his children
- The death certificate of his wife.
[See citations below]
We haven’t found any other records or papers that pertain to James William Long in public records or in family records. Is this a reasonably exhaustive search?
Clear and accurate source citations
We take care to cite the sources carefully and accurately so that others can assess the research and evidence supporting the conclusions. Other researchers should be able to replicate the work.
The other three steps are:
Analysis and correlation of evidence
Resolution of Conflicts
A Clear conclusion
In this case, the question is who are the parents and siblings of James William Long. We know that he lived in Kansas City, Missouri. Therefore, we start our research there. We find the following:
- The oral histories of the living witnesses do not yield the names of the subject’s parents or siblings, except that one states that his mother’s name may have been “Paulina, or something like that.”
- The 1870 census of Kansas City, Missouri, shows a James Long, age 7, living with adults James, age 39, and Nancy, 35. There are other children in the household as follows: Charlie, 14; Fred, 9, Hannah, 5; Rebecca, 3. The 1870 census did not show relationships, so it cannot conclusively be said from those census records alone that any adult living with any child is in a parent-child relationship. Likewise, any children living together may or may not be siblings.
- A marriage license in the files of the county clerk of Jackson County, Missouri, shows that James W. Long and Mary E. Johnson were married on May 30, 1888. The application states that James was 22 years old and that Mary was 17. Her father gave his consent.
- The 1900 census of Kansas City, Missouri, shows James Long and Mary E. Long residing with six children. James’s birthdate is given as October 1866; Mary’s as August 1870.
- The 1910 census of Kansas City, Missouri, shows James W. Long and Mary Long residing with nine children. James is indicated to be 42 years old; Mary is said to be 39 years old.
- All of the census entries, except the 1870 Kansas City census, indicate that James was born in Missouri and that his father was born in Kentucky, his mother in Virginia. The 1870 Kansas City census shows that James was born in Missouri, as was his mother, but that his father was born in Mississippi.
- A death certificate on file with the State of Missouri Archives shows that James William Long was born on October 15, 1866 in Shawnee, Johnson County, Kansas, and died on September 23, 1945, in the State Mental Hospital at Fulton, Callaway County, Missouri.
- The informant on the death certificate is Christina Neal, known to the living witnesses as one of his daughters. The censuses show Christina as one of his daughters. A marriage license on file with the county clerk of Jackson County, Missouri, shows that Christina Long married Earl Neal on December 31, 1916.
- The death certificate states James’ father’s name as Richard and his mother’s name as “unknown.”
- The 1870 census of Shawnee, Johnson County, Kansas, shows a Richard Long residing with “Palinay” Long, and children Joseph, age 16, John, age 7, James, age 4, Rozetta, age 2, and Eliza Jane, age 4 months. However, it shows James having been born in Missouri. It shows his father born in Kentucky and his mother in Virgina. His father’s age is given as 37; his mother’s age as 30.
- Records in the Missouri State Archives show that a Paulina Long died in 1888 at age 48 in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Records in the Missouri State Archives show that an Eliza Jane Long died in 1885 at age 15.
Analysis and Correlation of Evidence
The death certificate of James William Long correlates with the 1870 Shawnee, Kansas, census in terms of his age and also correlates in terms of his birthdate with the 1900 Kansas City, Missouri, census. The Kansas City censuses are consistent with the Shawnee census with respect to the birth places of James and his parents.
The death certificate is not consistent with the census records with respect to his place of birth.
Information about his birth place on the census records was given by his parents and himself; on the death certificate, this information was given by his daughter who was in less of a position to know.
The death certificate is consistent with the Shawnee census record concerning his father’s name.
With respect to his mother’s name, it would appear that the Shawnee census record may contain a misspelling of “Paulina.” If so, that would be consistent with the oral history. The census record is consistent with the death record of Paulina Long.
The parents of James William Long were Richard and Paulina Long, who resided for some period of time in Shawnee, Kansas.
2. James Long & Mary E. Johnson, Marriage License, County Clerk, Jackson County, Missouri, License No. 1888K0000315.
3. James W. Long, Death Certificate, Missouri Secretary of State, State Archives,
Callaway County, State File no. 33339.
4. James Long household, 1870 United States Federal Census, Kansas City Ward 2, Jackson County, Missouri; National Archives microfilm M593 roll 782; Page 572.
5. Richard Long household, 1870 United States Federal Census, Shawnee Twp., Johnson County, Kansas, National Archives microfilm M593, roll 435, page 646.
6. James Long household, 1900 United States Federal Census, Kansas City Ward 5, Jackson County, Missouri, National Archives microfilm T623, roll 861; page 12B.
7. James Long household, 1910 United States Federal Census, Kansas City Ward 3, Jackson County, Missouri, National Archives microfilm T624, roll 785; Page: 7B.
9. Mary E. Long, Death Certificate, Missouri Secretary of State, State Archives,
Jackson County, State File no. 5725.
May 22, 2007 Tuesday at 4:29 am